Adolescents' Need to Talk About Sex and Sexuality in an Urban Mental Health Setting
WithNyanda Labor, Daniel Medeiros, Erika Carlson, Nancimarie Pullo, Mavis Seehaus, Ken Peake, Irwin Epstein
Pages 20

This chapter presents findings from the sexual health section of the Adquest, a clinical, self-administered intake questionnaire that was designed to elicit information from adolescents seeking mental health services in order to help counselors engage adolescents in conversations about their sexual health and other concerns. It analyzes responses to the Adquest questions relating to sex and sexuality. A group of Adolescent Health Center (AHC) practitioner-researchers assigned these questions to five categories: environmental risks, behavioral risks, worries, coping, and desire to talk to a counselor about sex, body, and birth control. Aggregating Adquest intake information from AHC mental health service applicants reveals that over half of them had sexual experience, and that the majority of applicants wanted to talk to a counselor about sex, body, and birth control. By engaging adolescents in dialogue, healthcare providers can help determine why some adolescents have sex and engage in risky behaviors, and help them make decisions that result in healthy responsible sexual behavior.